Client: Montclair Parking Authority
Location: Montclair, USA
Completion date: 2005
Artwork budget: $50,000
Anne Oshman Mosaics
Public Art Agent
Montclair Parking Authority
Through a competitive process to enhance a newly built parking deck, I designed a mosaic mural apropos to the kind of building it was, as well as the town and its environment. The central large panel was the most important, so “A Classic Ensemble” was designed to recognize Montclair's annual July 4th parade. I created the six smaller panels, as well as the signage panels, to be reminiscent of subway signs and designs. The three large panels are actually 4 smaller panels each. Altogether it is approximately 310 square feet, and took nine months to design and fabricate.
I spoke with the architect before designing this piece, and asked him where he thought mosaic would best fit when the building is finished. He told me the front. He gave me the sizes of the niches they were putting in, and that is where I eventually installed the mosaic panels. It was important to the town that the design reflected its environment, as well as the parking authority to have signage. All of these "pieces of the puzzle" were elements in my final proposal. The final decision was what to put on the license plates. I suggested Montclair's zip code on one, and MPA-05 (Montclair Parking Authority and the year) for the other. The final touch.
The collaboration process was pretty easy. After I was awarded the commission, I came up with a few different possibilities for the central panel. I met with the Montclair Parking Authority, architect and art representative, and they ultimately chose the design that's shown. A few colors were changed along the way. They loved the signage pieces, the materials which were micro mosaic tiles (3/8") for the cars, and stained glass for the rest. I invited them all to come to my studio whenever they wanted. I sent images. It really was a great experience.
This was my first public art project. Also my first commission. Also my first mosaic for exterior purposes. I was a little concerned about not having all the answers at my fingertips. In speaking with an artist friend, she said something that resonated with me and I still does. She said "You know how to do the mosaic. That's what matters. The rest is incidental. Do your research. It's out there." We were speaking of adhesives and finishing materials for exteriors, installation, etc. She was right.